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Virginia 1619

Slavery and Freedom in the Making of English America

Paul Musselwhite, Peter C. Mancall, and James Horn

Publisher: Omohundro Institute
Imprint: OIEAHC
Published: 04/2019
Pages: 336
Subject: History, Social Science
Cloth ISBN: 9781469652016
Paperback ISBN: 9781469651798
eBook ISBN: 9781469651804


Virginia 1619 provides an opportunity to reflect on the origins of English colonialism around the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic world. As the essays here demonstrate, Anglo-Americans have been simultaneously experimenting with representative government and struggling with the corrosive legacy of racial thinking for more than four centuries. Virginia, contrary to popular stereotypes, was not the product of thoughtless, greedy, or impatient English colonists. Instead, the emergence of stable English Atlantic colonies reflected the deliberate efforts of an array of actors to establish new societies based on their ideas about commonwealth, commerce, and colonialism. Looking back from 2019, we can understand that what happened on the shores of the Chesapeake four hundred years ago was no accident. Slavery and freedom were born together as migrants and English officials figured out how to make this colony succeed. They did so in the face of rival ventures and while struggling to survive in a dangerous environment. Three hallmarks of English America--self-government, slavery, and native dispossession--took shape as everyone contested the future of empire along the James River in 1619.

Nicholas Canny, National University of Ireland, Galway
Misha Ewen, University of Manchester
Andrew Fitzmaurice, University of Sydney
Jack P. Greene, John Hopkins University
Paul D. Halliday, University of Virginia
Alexander B. Haskell, University of California, Riverside
James Horn, Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation
Michael J. Jarvis, University of Rochester
Peter C. Mancall, University of Southern California
Philip D. Morgan, John Hopkins University
Melissa N. Morris, University of Wyoming
Paul Musselwhite, Dartmouth College
James D. Rice, Tufts University
Lauren Working, University of Liverpool


Paul Musselwhite is assistant professor of history at Dartmouth College.

Peter C. Mancall is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities and professor of history and anthropology at the University of Southern California. 

James Horn is president of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation (Preservation Virginia) at Historic Jamestowne. 


"Timely and insightful, Virginia 1619 brings together influential transatlantic scholars to assess debates around race, gender, and political authority from the colonial British Atlantic. Its authors convincingly demonstrate how both deliberate and haphazard decision making in 1619 Virginia ultimately structured a world of inequality with resonance into the present."
--Audrey Horning, College of William & Mary and Queen's University Belfast

"In Virginia 1619, an array of renowned and up-and-coming scholars postulates 1619, when African people first appear in Virginia's records, as pivotal in the history of the colony. Any consideration of seventeenth-century English overseas interests and the development of Anglo-America must reckon with the analyses they offer."
--L. H. Roper, State University of New York, New Paltz

"A splendid collection centered on a pivotal moment in British, American, and Virginia history. Deeply researched and judiciously crafted, the essays are graced with degrees of thought and originality not always found in such abundance in anthologies by multiple authors."
--Warren M. Billings, University of New Orleans

“The essays in this volume range from very good to excellent…this collection of outstanding essays serves as a reminder that the study of economic and political elites continues to dominate the way we think and write about the past.”
--The Journal of Southern History

“Timely, fresh, and engaging. . . . Each chapter is lucid and compelling, reflecting the careful analysis of diverse and difficult archival materials.”
--H-Net Reviews

“The contributors to this impressive collection of essays share several common goals: to place the reforms of 1619 within an early modern intellectual context and to define Virginia as a laboratory for the social theories and colonization schemes that arose from such a context.”
--Virginia Magazine of History & Biography